(mcherald.com, Dec. 20, JC Patterson)
With visions of sugarplums whizzing past your head, it might be nice to have a quiet moment all to yourself. No kids, no shopping lists to check off, no mad scramble to the next holiday party, no checking the oven to see if the gingerbread cookies are delectably burnt. Just you and a good book.
Miami legal thriller author James Grippando has a fast and formidable read that won’t take too much of your time, but goes great with some hot apple cider and a sleeping dog or cat.
The air still heady from politics and elections, Grippando’s Born To Run (HarperCollins) puts his recurring hero Jack Swytek smack dab in the oval office. Like his creator, Jack’s a Miami trial lawyer. But the author’s dad isn’t the former governor of Florida.
Harry Swytek is retired from politics. His career is quickly jumpstarted when Vice President Phil Grayson has a heart attack during an overnight gator hunt in the Everglades. Harry is on the president’s short list of replacements and dad wants Jack as his legal council during the proceedings.
That means Jack will have to spend time in the nation’s capitol, away from his FBI girlfriend and best pal, Theo, a former gang member whom Jack helped get off death row many years ago.
Harry looks like a sure bet for the next VP, but conspiracies are flying. In a very short period, Jack receives a threatening e-mail, has a run-in with a would-be assassin and makes national headlines. Now the VP’s grieving widow and alluring daughter are filling Jack with more theories that perhaps Grayson didn’t die of natural causes.
When a former White House page is killed for knowing too much, her older sister, a CNN International reporter, links with Jack to dig up the goods that could bring down the presidency.
But there’s a wild card in the mix. A man known as The Greek has 40 years of knowledge and vengeance on his mind. And he’s gunning for the prez.
After Jack is “fired” as his dad’s council, the action follows him back to Miami. A wild car chase plunges Jack and The Greek into a high stakes standoff on live TV.
Can his girlfriend’s negotiator skills save Jack from a ticking time bomb with nothing to lose? Will Theo be a “rescue” ace in the hole? Tune in to Born To Run and find out.
Not even three plays in the same week could keep me away from James Grippando’s adrenaline-fused power read.
Dodge the Stress-mas season for a few hours with Born To Run. Your sanity will thank you.
JC Patterson is a literary critic and is active in local theater productions.